Rembrandt’s “Philosopher Reading”
The season of autumn is deepening as we speak. From ancient times, autumn has been called the season of “deung-hwa-ga-chin” and the season of reading. Autumn has been given this title due to the chilly nights during the fall, which is the perfect time to read books near the lamplight (deung-hwa-ga-chin). However, in recent times people have strayed away from books during this time of year. In the past, people reading on the bus and subway were a common sight. People nowadays, however, play games or watch movies and dramas on their mobile devices. Of course, they also search the Internet for information and gain sensibilities through games and movies.
However, it is quite nonsensical to point out the importance of reading in an age of mass media. To cite an example, Steve Jobs, who opened a new era of smart phones and tablet PCs, stressed the importance of humanities. The CEOs of Samsung have placed importance in analog sensibility and creativity. In order to foster individuals with creative thinking and the ability to convert information into knowledge and wisdom by discovering truth from a pool of data, it is of the utmost importance to have humanistic literacy and mindset. These humanistic qualities can be realized through reading.
We all know the importance of reading. According to a news report, office workers in Korea read about one book per month. This shows that knowing the importance of reading and actually reading are two different things. In order to put reading into practice, it needs to become a part of your daily life.
Then, what is the best way? First, we need to make reading a habit just like eating three meals a day. When using public transportation, you should avoid using your smart phone for searching the Internet, playing games, or watching your favorite movies and dramas. You should at least try to set aside about thirty minutes during your commute for reading. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a paperback. You can use your smart phone or tablet to read. There are many e-book libraries that are available these days, so you don’t need to worry about going to an actual library to borrow a book.
In addition, it is always a good idea to start with light reading. You should not read challenging or long books in the beginning because you won’t be able to keep up with your promise of making reading a habit. If you are able to make reading a part of your routine, then I recommend classical literature, which contains a plethora of knowledge and wisdom passed down since ancient times. They will be your best bet to gaining the best teacher and a best friend.
So let’s make reading a habit this autumn, taking advantage of mobile technology that is readily available. We will all be able to build a solid foundation for creative thinking and an ability to change simple information into knowledge and wisdom.
Translated by Julia Kim